Taking it on the Road

Game music goes on tour


Shota Nakama and the Video Game Orchestra perform at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

Credibility — the final frontier. Video game music is now attracting respectable crowds of attentive concert-goers to live performances throughout North America and the world.

Composer Tommy Tallarico, a veteran of 25 years, is currently cranking trax in Cologne, Germany, with the Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra. As part of his Video Games Live endeavor, which has dates booked in Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Sao Palo, Brazil, through the end of the year.

There’s even a Video Game Orchestra, that’s been touring since 2011, when founder Shota Nakama unleashed his “rockestra” on the world. Its debut at the legendary philharmonic concert venue, Boston Symphony Hall, sold out the 2,500 seats, packing them with enthusiastic young game music fans. In 2012 the group returned to ground zero and used Kickstarter funding to recorded  there,  The resulting concert album, Live at Symphony Hall, emphasizes the works of four great game composers: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoko Shimomura, Noriyuki Iwadare, and Kinuyo Yamashita.

Since launch, VGO has performed more than 20 shows in North America and Asia in front of tens of thousands of people. This weekend they’re playing Austin, and after that on to Philadelphia.

Down south, the Florida Symphony Orchestra director Michael Francis kicked off 2015 in a “spirit of fun” when he got things rolling will “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy” at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater in February. The program said composer Nobuo Uematsu’s Distant Worlds score “signals with sweeping tones a new age of home entertainment, in which customers clamor for sound systems that make them feel every rumble, roar and note.”The concert was one of several video game-themed evenings mounted by the Florida Symphony as it attempts to draw a younger crowd.

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